How should I look after my tattoo? (and why?)

Written by Sinéad Kennard

We get asked this question every day…

…and we should. Because aftercare is invaluable in ensuring your tattoo looks the best it can for as long as possible. A poor aftercare routine often leads to the tattoo ink not settling properly in your skin. Above all this can result in a patchy and inconsistent appearance. You might have heard people say that tattoos have thickened or faded. In this case it means the colour and detail has lessened. A variety of reasons could be the answer, but the main one is often poor aftercare.

Here are our best tips for looking after your tattoo…

On the day of getting your tattoo we apply a cling film wrap to protect it. So when you’re traveling from our studio back home, it arrives with you in tip-top condition. After 3 hours you should remove the cling film. Then give your tattoo a rinse under the shower. Afterwards either air dry it or pat it dry with kitchen roll. (Do not use a towel already in the bathroom – this can spread bacteria.) Chiefly, there is no need to rewrap your tattoo in clingfilm, all you need to do is apply a thin layer of aftercare cream. The tattoo/skin may feel sensitive for a few days which is completely normal, make sure you are not out in the sun or picking any scabs. Fresh tattoos are essentially wounds so the scabs are important in protecting the tattoo against any bacteria as the skin repairs itself.

Give it time

You need to let your tattoo heal! You should not submerge your tattoo in water, so make sure you haven’t planned any beach holidays in the weeks following your tattoo session, showers are fine. Use unscented soaps when washing your tattoo for the first two weeks and use clean hands when applying our aftercare product.

All of our Tattoo artists in London go through aftercare best practice after your tattoo session; each artist may have a slight difference in their aftercare routine. Our recommended tried and tested aftercare product is Palmers Cocoa Butter which you can purchase at The Old Stables Studio in a handy small bottle. Again we suggest not buying this in a tub to reduce the spread of bacteria. You should apply a thin layer twice a day on clean skin for two weeks after getting your tattoo. For long term care of your tattoo/s you should always be applying sun cream to avoid fading and skin damage. Tattoos with coloured ink or placements on the hands and feet for example can often fade quicker and may need touching up; this is completely normal.

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